Turn up the Italian dinner music and pour a glass of Sangiovese wine. Today I’m sharing two Italian inspired recipes for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day- white bean arugula bruschetta and Italian sausage, tomato and tortellini soup. Don’t worry, we’re keeping it simple, because a romantic dinner is more about the time spent with loved ones than it is time spent slaving away over the perfect meal. Clearly we’re going for simple and delicious!
Last Spring, Justin and I visited Italy for a late Honeymoon. We explored Rome, Florence and day-tripped around Tuscany to Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano. Above all, we loved spending our days engulfed in history and the fresh flavors of locally-inspired food. We taste tested endless pasta, marinara, pizzas, bruschetta, cured meats, cheeses and gelato. Undoubtedly, we also drank a lot of wine. I mean a lot.
So this Valentine’s Day we’re reminiscing on our Italian vacation with Italian inspired white bean arugula bruschetta and sausage, tomato, tortellini soup. It’s funny how food can be such a time machine like that! Without a doubt, the taste of fresh tomatoes and cheeses makes me so nostalgic for the memories we made together. Snag your sweetheart and some fresh tomatoes to enjoy these recipes together!
WHITE BEAN ARUGULA BRUSCHETTA
Prep time: 15 minutes
1 package Village Farms Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c fresh mozzarella ciliegine “cherry size”
1/2 c arugula
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 fresh baguette
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
- Toss Sinfully Sweet Campari tomatoes, cannellini beans, mozzarella, arugula, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium sized mixing bowl. Refrigerate.
- While your bruschetta topping soaks in its flavor, toast your baguette. Slice bread into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 30) and spread over a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 6 minutes.
- Remove bruschetta toasts from oven and spoon tomato mixture atop. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.
Bruschetta is a super fun dish because it allows for such creativity. It’s a blank canvas awaiting your favorite ingredients! I love Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes for their sweet and juicy flavor. They’re the perfect size for a chunky mixture to top a bite size appetizer like bruschetta. I tossed them with mozzarella, fresh arugula, navy beans, olive oil and garlic for the perfect hearty bite. The final touch? A drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a strong, sweet-tart finisher.
Now on to our main course; Italian sausage, tomato, tortellini soup with kale and fresh parmesan. I love the creamy, slightly tomato flavor of the soup broth made with real, whole ingredients. The water and bone broth can be substituted for typical soup broth. It’s the milk and butter that create the perfect creamy base mixed with the sweetness of sautéed Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes. These incredibly sweet and juicy, bite-size tomatoes are the perfect addition of flavor and texture for those chunky soup lovers (like me!) when paired with fresh tortellini and chicken sausage.
We love pairing Italian Chianti wine with these dishes. The high acidity and body are a perfect pairing for the tangy tomatoes and strong flavors of garlic and olive oil. Zinfandel is another favorite if you’re looking for something a bit fruitier!
ITALIAN SAUSAGE, TOMATO, TORTELLINI SOUP
Prep time: 35 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb fresh sweet Italian chicken sausage, cut into 1 inch thick rounds
1 shallot, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 c chicken bone broth (may substitute bone broth + water with straight soup broth)
4 c water
2 pints Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes, cut into thirds cross-wise
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, stems removed
12 oz tortellini, fresh
3/4 c milk
1/4 c butter, room temperature
1/4 c shaved parmesan cheese
- Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil, chicken sausage, shallots and garlic to the pot and sauté for five minutes.
- Add bone broth, water, tomatoes, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Whisk until broth and water are well combined.
- Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add kale, tortellini, milk and butter. Stir to combine.
- Simmer for 5 minutes, just long enough for the pasta to cook.
- Serve with fresh parmesan cheese sprinkled atop.
Interested in more tomato inspired recipes? Check out my TOMATO AND MELON SKEWERS + COOLERS too!